Buying a new air conditioner for your Frederick, Maryland, home is a significant investment. After all, it’s a purchase you need to rely on for a long time to keep your family comfortable. That’s why you shouldn’t start the process uninformed. Be sure to ask these 10 questions when purchasing a new air conditioner.
How Large Should the Air Conditioner Be?
When you start talking with Griffith Energy Services’ experienced air conditioning technicians, one of the first things you’ll notice is that we start from scratch. Instead of simply replacing your old air conditioner with a new unit of the exact same capacity, we do what’s known as a Manual J load calculation. This HVAC industry standard calculation takes into account a long list of measurements and characteristics including your home’s size and layout, your home’s orientation, the amount of shade around your home, the number and location of windows, and much more.
With this information in hand, we’ll produce an updated, accurate calculation of your home’s cooling needs. From there, we’ll work with you to design a system that will cool your home efficiently and effectively.
How Efficient Is the New System?
If you’ve lived with your current air conditioner for long, you’ve probably noticed that it has lost efficiency over time. Upkeep and maintenance keep efficiency-related losses to a minimum, but after a decade or more, most old systems simply can’t keep up any longer.
When you start shopping for a new air conditioner, be sure to look for one with an Energy Star label. These systems meet or exceed the minimum energy requirements established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). All Energy Star systems have a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) rating of 15 or higher, which reflects how effectively they remove heat from an air-conditioned space. Air conditioners with higher SEER ratings are more efficient, which can lead to greater savings on your utility bill.
What New Technology Do I Need?
In addition to greater efficiency, many new air conditioners boast technology that keeps your home more comfortable or helps save you money. Look for features like variable speed motors, which typically operate around the clock at a low speed and only kick into high gear when necessary. Other systems are engineered for perfectly quiet operation or are designed to integrate seamlessly with furnaces, thermostats, and other HVAC equipment.
What Is the Installation Timeline?
If you’re planning to purchase an air conditioner to replace a malfunctioning or broken unit, you probably want the new system in place as soon as possible. This is especially true if it’s the peak of summer and temperatures are soaring.
In many cases, installing an air conditioner isn’t a quick process. With electrical, plumbing, and ductwork components to coordinate, not to mention extensive calibration and testing, the installation process can easily take more than a day. If the system is much larger or requires significant ductwork updates, the process could take several days. When you work with us, you can trust that we’ll explain the installation process and give you a reliable timeline for your new air conditioner.
Who Will Do the Work?
Installing an air conditioner isn’t a DIY project. Instead, it’s a job for a licensed, certified professional. All of the technicians at Griffith Energy Services are NATE-certified, which means we’ve passed professional tests with flying colors and we have extensive real-world experience. With over 100 years of service in the Mid-Atlantic region, it’s safe to say that we’re committed to top-notch work.
What Brands Do You Offer?
Some HVAC companies sell and service just one or two brands. This can be incredibly limiting, especially if you want the best selection and your choice of the latest technology.
At Griffith Energy Services, we’re proud to offer systems, components, and service from a long list of HVAC manufacturers. In fact, we’re Factory Authorized Dealers for Trane Air Conditioning and Climate Master Geothermal Pumps, and we also offer air quality components from several manufacturers. That means you can choose from our top-of-the-line components no matter what your air conditioning needs entail.
Should I Schedule Preventive Maintenance?
If you think air conditioner maintenance is only a necessity for older systems, think again. Preventive maintenance is important for air conditioners from day one. These days, air conditioners are designed to last for at least a decade. Neglecting basic maintenance, however, could shorten your system’s lifespan significantly.
When you purchase a new air conditioner from Griffith Energy Services, we can also set you up on an annual maintenance plan. With this in place, you can rest assured that your new investment will run smoothly, keep cool, and help your family breathe clean throughout the cooling season.
It’s best to schedule this type of maintenance during the spring season so you won’t have to worry about running into any issues during the summer. If you’ve already made it though most of the cooling season without scheduling an appointment, remember that it’s better to be late with preventive maintenance than to skip it entirely.
Do I Need Additional Air Quality Components?
Thanks to some pretty impressive technological advances, many air conditioners can simultaneously cool your home, keep the air quality high, and maintain a consistent humidity level. If your home is older, susceptible to air leaks and drafts, or prone to airborne pollutants, you should consider adding on select indoor air quality components for healthier, more breathable air.
At Griffith Energy Services, you’ll find a range of products including dehumidifiers, ventilators, air cleaners, and even ultraviolet (UV) lamps. Dehumidifiers are ideal for Frederick-area homes that tend to get hot and sticky, while whole-home ventilators help homes with tight building envelopes to pull in fresh air and push out stale air. UV lamps ward off bacteria and mold that tend to grow around air conditioners, and air cleaners capture pollen, dust, tobacco smoke, mold, and even bacteria circulating through the air.
Should I Purchase a New Thermostat?
Thermostat technology has advanced substantially in the past decade. If you haven’t updated your thermostat since the last time you purchased an air conditioner, then you should almost certainly purchase a new device. More recent thermostats may also be worth updating, especially if they only offer limited functionality or if they don’t work seamlessly with your new air conditioner.
If you’re concerned about the cost of a new device, remember that the right thermostat can ultimately help you save on energy costs throughout the year. Basic programmable thermostats allow you to set a cooling schedule that varies depending on the day of the week. That way your air conditioner will keep you cool without wasting energy while you’re not at home.
Advanced smart thermostats have the same functionality as programmable devices, but they also allow you to adjust temperature settings from your smartphone or tablet. Some even have geo-fencing capabilities, so they sense when you’re close to home and adjust your cooling schedule accordingly. Others provide energy reports so you can make informed decisions to lower your energy consumption and save on cooling costs.
What Is the Total Cost?
When it comes to complex systems like air conditioners, you want to know exactly what you’re getting into. Comprehending the total cost of your new system starts with understanding the installation estimate. Our knowledgeable technicians can explain the cost breakdown, including the system pricing, the labor cost, and charges for extras like air quality components or thermostats.
In addition to the installation cost, you’ll want to anticipate the cost of operating the air conditioner. After all, energy isn’t free. Look for the bright yellow EnergyGuide label on the air conditioner, which outlines the estimated annual energy consumption. This label relies on Department of Energy-approved testing procedures to give you an accurate depiction of both energy usage and operating costs. With this data in hand, you can truly understand the cost of your new air conditioner.
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